Process is defined as a series of actions or steps taken to reach a particular end. When we think of processes, we think about chemicals or food. Large manufacturing plants with high speed packing lines working without people.
Cooking and preparing a meal is a different type of a process. Those that cook well and can prepare all of the side dishes together with the main meal have learned the steps needed to be taken to create an exceptional, complete meal. They have a process.
Organizations have defined jobs that are formed by defining what processes will be executed by what person to get to the particular end that the job requires.
Processes that are well defined and executed yield higher predictable results then ones that are ill conceived or simply never defined. When you react to situations without a process it resembles more of a knee jerk reaction that has low repeatability and whose results are random.
Why concern ourselves with process on a personal level? Process is a cousin of discipline. It makes up the objective part of discipline by creating steps that we follow every day of our lives towards a particular end. It does not fill the emotional side of discipline that is needed — the will that is necessary to push us to do whatever it takes to reach a particular end.
More importantly, when you have a good process in place you become more resilient. You can withstand uncertainty better. You don’t focus on fear when you are focusing on executing a process. Focusing on the process keeps you from worrying about the outcome. Work the process well and the outcome should be more probable. Skip steps in the process and you could be doomed to fail.
When making decisions, our morning routine or how we approach our work are all examples of personal processes. We more commonly use the word habit instead of process. The problem with habits is that we generally know the end result but, many times, don’t understand the steps involved that got us there. Some habits are good like running two miles every day. Others not so good as becoming overly emotional when someone doesn’t like our idea frequently.
We don’t associate steps with habits. Habits seem to just appear. They rarely are evident while we are building them without intention.
We need to focus on process and stepping back to understand the steps that we must repeat to execute a process that leads towards a probable outcome.
Then memorize and repeat the steps of a good process until it becomes a habit. Now, you can really begin to make progress.
Good processes allow us to accomplish more. In an organization, good processes allow everyone to flourish. Processes make both individuals and organizations more resilient.
Think more about process the next time you want to either change or get ahead. You might find that good process (discovered by taking different steps) will help you with both of these.